Ukraine’s state nuclear company, Enerhoatom, said the two operating reactors at the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant had been reconnected to the power grid after Kyiv claimed earlier that the plant had been cut off from power. national power grid by Russian bombing.
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Enerhoatom announced at noon on August 26 that the first nuclear reactor had been reconnected to the electricity grid. Announcing that the second had been reconnected in the evening, Enerhoatom said in a statement that “the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, despite numerous provocations from the occupants, continues to operate”.
The nuclear power plant was disconnected for the first time in its four-decade history on August 25 due to a fire which Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said was caused by Russian bombing that hit the last power line in operating status linking the plant to the network.
On August 26, Enerhoatom also accused Russia of damaging three other power lines linked to the Zaporizhzhya facility.
Previously, Enerhoatom said there were no problems with the plant’s machinery or its safety systems, as electricity for the plant’s own needs was currently supplied by a power line from the Ukrainian power system. .
On August 25, Zelenskiy said a nuclear radiation disaster had been narrowly averted after Russian shelling in the region caused power to Zaporizhzhya, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, to go out for hours. .
Russian shelling sparked fires in the ash pits of a nearby coal-fired power plant that disconnected the Russian-controlled plant from the power grid on August 25, Zelenskiy said, but emergency diesel generators provided power power supply vital to the plant’s cooling and safety systems.
Russia has denied responsibility, with officials based in Moscow in the Zaporizhzhya region blaming the fire and subsequent breakdown on Ukrainian armed forces.
Zelenskiy praised Ukrainian technicians who operate the plant, which has been under Russian military control since the start of the war. The plant has six Soviet-designed reactors, but only two remained in service amid the fighting.
“Russia has put Ukraine and all Europeans on the brink of a radioactive disaster,” he added.
Disconnecting the plant from the grid was a potential hazard because a failure of the emergency power systems could have led to a loss of coolant and caused fuel meltdown in the reactor core.
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Foreign officials have warned of a potential catastrophe and continue to push Russian and Ukrainian forces to do more to protect Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.
Russia has controlled the facility for about two weeks after invading Ukraine on February 24, keeping workers prisoner and holding them at gunpoint to operate the plant, whose first reactor entered service in 1985 .
Western leaders demanded that Russia return the plant to Ukraine, while UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for its “demilitarization”.
On August 26, French President Emmanuel Macron warned against using civilian nuclear facilities as an instrument of war.
“The war must in no way undermine the nuclear safety of the country, the region and all of us. Civilian nuclear energy must be fully protected,” Macron said during a visit to Algeria.
Western leaders have previously demanded that Russia return the plant to Ukraine, while the UN chief called for its “demilitarization”. The UN’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has declared its intention to send a mission to inspect the plant.
In Washington, White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on August 25: “Russia should accept the demilitarized zone around the plant and agree to allow a visit from the International atomic energy as soon as possible to verify the safety and security of the system.”
On the battlefield, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces declared on August 26 that its forces had pushed back Russian assaults on the towns of Bakhmut and Soledar in the eastern region of Donetsk and hit ammunition depots and enemy personnel in the southern region of Kherson.
The Ukrainian General Staff said earlier that Russian forces had carried out unsuccessful offensive operations in the direction of Sloviansk in the Donetsk region and continued to shell Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, as well as Kramatorsk, Novopavlivka, Zaporizhzhya and the Pivdenniy Buh river region. with artillery, tank and rocket fire.
The Russian offensive in eastern and southern Ukraine has slowed down in recent weeks, apparently hampered by high losses in personnel and military equipment, despite Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu’s recent assertion, according to which Moscow intentionally reduced the pace in order to avoid collateral damage among civilians.
The UK Ministry of Defense said in its daily intelligence bulletin on August 26, that Shoigu’s statement was “almost certainly deliberate misinformation”.
British intelligence said the Russian offensive had stalled due to poor Russian military performance and fierce Ukrainian resistance.
He said Shoigu and President Vladimir Putin “most likely” fired at least six generals for not advancing fast enough.
The intelligence report says a Russian missile strike on a train station in central Ukraine on August 24 that Moscow said targeted a Ukrainian military train highlighted “Russia’s willingness to cause collateral damage when ‘it perceives that there is a military advantage in launching missile or artillery strikes’.
The strike left at least 25 people dead, including children, Kyiv said, while the Russian Defense Ministry claimed, without producing any evidence, that the strike targeted and killed more than 200 Ukrainian soldiers who were on their way to fight in the Donbass.
Neither the Russian nor Ukrainian claims could be independently verified.